Mariam Sawires - The Healer (REVIEW)
Updated: Nov 8, 2021
Sydney based soul musician Mariam Sawires has blessed us with the release of her first project since her 2017 debut EP ‘Ahnuma’. Last Friday, the wonderful vocalist dropped a 5-track EP entitled ‘The Healer’. The project, which was written and co-produced by Mariam, is guided entirely by the amazing Mariam Sawires who wholeheartedly showcases her ability to produce a harmonious and soulful listening experience.
From the first listen I knew that this project was something special. It was evident from the outset that Mariam wanted to write an ode to her Egyptian heritage, family and healing through life’s inevitable hurdles. A band made up of George Sheridan (Bass), Paul Mason (Guitar) and Mike Bentley (live kit) assisted with recording the beautiful instrumentals for this EP, whilst the multi-talented Mariam contributed her own heartfelt harp and piano instrumentals. Jack Prest took this vision and mixed and mastered the whole EP to give us the immense product we see today.
‘The Garden (Intro)’
Mariam's EP starts off with an entrancing intro track called ‘The Garden’. The intro begins with a lady speaking in Arabic describing the growing vegetables in her garden including capsicums and pumpkins. A sense of nostalgia immediately kicks as you can hear the excitement in her voice and the echo of kids running in the background expressing screams of joy. Whilst listening to this, I reminisce about the times I used to play with my cousins in the garden as my grandmother cared for her lavender plants and beautiful pink and white roses. Mariam summarises this nostalgia perfectly by saying "just like that, remembering". The beautiful Harp instrumentals bring me comfort, the piano keys provide me reassurance and the wind chimes help me feel the energy. This track reminds me of the importance of family and the never-ending bond formed between those closest to you.
‘Meaning Of Our Love’
Mariam wholeheartedly demonstrates her talents on this song, utilising her immense vocal range and vocal stretching to entrance the listener, assuring a magical listening experience. The soothing and melancholic production from Konstantin Kersting sets the mood of the song and allows Mariam to showcase her unique melodies and song-writing abilities. 'Meaning of Our Love' has so many layers and can be interpreted differently by listeners. The way I connect with this song will vary from how the next listener may connect to it. It is truly amazing that music can induce a range of emotions in listeners and Mariam seamlessly facilitates this with her music. Whether you’re feeling down, hopeful or love-struck, this song will help you through your journey.
Inherently, ‘Healer’ could not be more befitting as a title for this song considering its ability to usher one’s own scars, pain and anxieties away for a period. In this track the listener gains an insight into one of the most vulnerable periods in Mariam’s life, as the artist shares her battles with healing during difficult and trying times. ‘Healer’ is an ode to this personal struggle and the vice that helps the artist and the listener heal. In a recent Instagram post, Mariam shared a personal anecdote about how she wrote this song and it inspired me to share it with the reader. She said: “The song became about finding one’s source of inner peace and inner healer during dark turbulent times. Essentially, the song transcended a very painful chapter of my life into something creative and even beautiful.” The artist’s ability to alter her vocal pitch throughout the track emphasises certain pain points and adds a emotive value to her melodic tones. I first heard this song at a live performance of Mariam’s prior to the release of her EP and was completely taken aback, stuck in a state of trance, and completely taken over by the song. This song holds more healing powers than you may think.
A modern-day love song, ‘Trust’ allows the listener to open up and to accept love despite its dangers and one’s insecurities. I love the fact that the song has a split narrative with Mariam illustrating a defensive protagonist in the first half of the song that wants to be alone in contrast to the second half of the song where the protagonist is receptive to love and is willing to trust again. Through another intrinsic bit of production from Konstantin Kersting, the listener is exposed to a variety of different sounds and vibrations that complement the vocals from Mariam. ‘Trust’ helps the listener battle many demons, most of which are associated with loyalty, chemistry and unconditional love. This track holds a lot of weight and ties the EP together emphatically, as Mariam uses her song writing to spark questions within the listener in order to help them to face their own demons.
The outro track for this EP is mesmerizing. Humming is such a powerful singing tool used by many artists to capture the melodies and to evoke emotion in the listener. Mariam uses this opportunity in her closing track to establish a peaceful yet engaging presence through her humming. And in addition, we see the welcome return of the angelic harp instrumentals and illuminating wind chimes that create a harmonious listening experience. 'Re-member' allows the listener to embody the experiences they would feel throughout the EP, consolidating the emotions of love, melancholy, peace and nostalgia. ‘Re-member’ allows the listener to reminisce on their own healing process and the intricate music experience they just had, whilst acting as a gorgeous way to wrap up the EP.
With ‘The Healer’, Mariam Sawires has released one of the warmest and most captivating EPs to come out of the Australian scene this year. This project does not represent a random collection of songs that the artist has combined and released, it is much greater than that. ‘The Healer’ is a listening experience that allows us to ponder deeply our battles, our struggles and the trauma we are battling, helping us acknowledge them and heal through the presence of sound. Through this, Mariam has very intricately weaved a multi-faceted story within her project, with everything from the production to the vocals interconnecting and holding a deeper meaning.
Through this EP we, the listener, are taken on a journey of healing as Mariam explores themes of love, family, her Arabic heritage, pain and change through her song-writing and melodies. Mariam teaches us important life lessons through her own experiences and through asking key questions that will have us second guessing our own beliefs and standings whilst delivering a pertinent message of hope through such trying times. Undeniably, Mariam is an exceptional musician that has so much to offer the ever-growing soul scene in Australia, and her creative expressions and deep connection to sound have ensured that she has released a sonically flawless and timeless project.